Darius Jones: Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation)

Solo improvising altoist references Anthony Braxton and Marion Brown but produces creative set making the most of dynamics, silence and space


In these days when marketing bluster outstrips musical substance there’s something engaging about this set that is not merely reflective of the fact that it’s entirely a solo programme.

Jones has been operating semi-overtly on the fringes of the broad musical mainstream for some time now, but the passing of time has happily not sanded the edges of his stance, which ensures he produces music with an uncommonly high degree of creativity – it doesn’t echo countless precedents.

That said, I can detect the influence of both Anthony Braxton and Marion Brown in this music. Jones has clearly drunk deeply of both when it comes to his appreciation for and utilisation of dynamics, silence and space, a point which emerges both starkly and lyrically on his reading of Ornette Coleman’s Sadness.

Roscoe Mitchell’s Nonaah has always had going for it many qualities, none of them superficial. Jones shows he is aware of this, and the consequent virtuosity which is apparent is that of a musician with something on his mind other than chord sequences and such vacuously mercurial notions as exemplary solo construction.

On Beautiful Love he shows he’s not averse to the rhapsodic. Concern over such basic issues as note placement and overall pacing result in a performance made all the more lyrical by avoiding the expectations of anyone who looks to creative improvised music to provide them only with yet another facsimile of what they already know.

Figure No. 2; Sadness; Beautiful Love; Nonaah; Love In Outer Space (48.40)
Jones (as). Holocene, Portland, Oregon. 18 October 2019.
Northern Spy NS141